Mock Draft Monday: Three positions Bucs eyeing, Jalen Ramsey a top-five lock?
As the NFL's scouting combine prepares to wrap up, a few things seem certain among mock drafts: Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey won't fall outside the top five, and the Bucs are looking for a defensive back, offensive tackle or defensive end with their first pick.
Ramsey is one of the draft's best overall athletes, and he's got a bit of a rivalry with Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III. He is projected to go anywhere from No. 1 overall to the Jaguars at No. 5.
As for the Bucs, pundits remain split between Hargreaves, Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley and the best available pass rusher.
Here's our weekly summary of potential Bucs targets and local players among noted mock drafts:
Bucs, No. 9 overall pick
NFL.com: The site's four experts are split. Two think Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III will end up with the Bucs, as Daniel Jeremiah writes: "The Bucs need to add a playmaker to the back end, and Hargreaves has very good ball skills." The other two project the Bucs taking Oregon DE DeForest Buckner. Bucky Brooks writes: "Mike Smith needs to find Gerald McCoy a playmate along the defensive front. Buckner is a versatile pass rusher with the athleticism and length to create problems for blockers on the edges."
CBSSports consensus: Split. Hargreaves, Buckner and Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence are all options. On Spence, Pete Prisco writes: "They need pass rush help in a big way. This kid has a chance to be a dominant edge rusher."
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. (unchanged): Hargreaves. "Tampa Bay needs a talent infusion at cornerback, and Hargreaves is going to grade out as a player who is ready to be on the field in Week 1."
ESPN's Todd McShay (unchanged): Buckner. "Buckner, who posted 12.0 tackles for loss in conference play this season, would give the Bucs a much-needed playmaker at DE."
SI's Chris Burke (unchanged): Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley. "There is more depth at the pass-rushing spots and even at DB than at tackle. If Tampa Bay wants help along its O-line, this is the spot to pounce." Burke also has the Bucs adding Clemson DE Kevin Dodd in the second round.
USA Today's Nate Davis (unchanged): Stanley. "(Does) it really make sense to take any risks with Jameis Winston's well-being?"
Rotoworld's Josh Norris (unchanged): Clemson DE Shaq Lawson. "He has flashes speed, power and pass rushing awareness with a variety of moves."
Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo (unchanged): Spence: "During his time in Mobile, Spence established himself as the most explosive pass rusher, giving offensive tackles headaches all week."
Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey
ESPN's Kiper (unchanged): No. 5, to Jacksonville. "(With) Dante Fowler Jr. coming back, they go with Ramsey, a gifted, versatile player who can play corner or safety."
NFL.com consensus: No. 3, to the Chargers (or elsewhere in the top five). Charles Davis writes: "Ramsey is arguably the best athlete in the draft."
CBSSports consensus: Somewhere between third and fifth overall.
Rotoworld (unchanged): No. 1, to Tennessee: "The Titans likely want to trade this pick, but a versatile, aggressive defensive back with size and athleticism is not a bad consolation."
USA Today's Davis (unchanged): No. 3, to San Diego. "It's apparent what kind of impact a player like Tyrann Mathieu can have in the pass-centric NFL. Ramsey will draw those kind of comparisons given his ability to cover receivers outside, in the slot or even play safety."
ESPN's McShay (unchanged): No. 5, to Jacksonville. "For a team looking to improve on defense, this would be an ideal scenario."
SI (unchanged): No. 3, to San Diego. "The choice at No. 3 is Ramsey because of how desperate San Diego should be for a boost in the secondary, especially with Eric Weddle exiting."
Pro Football Focus (unchanged): No. 4, to Dallas
Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III
NFL.com consensus: He won't slide past the Bucs at No. 9, but he could go sixth (to Baltimore) or fifth (to Jacksonville).
CBSSports consensus: No. 8, to Miami. "He isn't a tall corner, but they need somebody who can come in and play press-man and be aggressive. That's Hargreaves."
ESPN's McShay (unchanged): No. 8, to Miami
SI (unchanged): No. 8, to Miami. "Hargreaves or Mackensie Alexander would be fine selections by Miami, which must find some help in the secondary."
Rotoworld (unchanged): No. 8, to Miami. "Hargreaves' 2015 season did not match 2014, but it was far from bad or even average."
Pro Football Focus (unchanged): No. 8, to Miami. "Hargreaves was outstanding in 2014, our best cornerback in the nation, but he took a step back in 2015. Still, he's sound fundamentally and can play a variety of coverages while staying with even the shiftiest of receivers."
USA Today (unchanged): No. 10, to the Giants.
Florida DL Jonathan Bullard
Pro Football Focus (unchanged): No. 24, to Cincinnati
SI (unchanged): No. 35 (second round), to San Diego